Naturally, we all want the best for our furry four legged friends. We ensure they have the best nutrition, be sure to keep them well exercised and of course spoil them with cuddles.
HOWEVER, sometimes our good intentions negatively impact the environment, without us even noticing! It's sad, but unfortunately true.
With a few minor tweaks you can help reduce your pet’s paw print and help look after the planet—without sacrificing the love and care you already provide.
The following are some of the most wasteful things a pet parent can do. Avoid them to be a more eco-friendly pet parent.
Using Plastic Bags to Pick Up Dog Poop
Using plastic dog poop bags to pick up and dispose of your dog’s poop may be convenient, but it’s also clogging up landfills and posing a threat to wildlife. You may see biodegradable bags as a solution, but studies have shown that after 7 years, the bags still hold firm.
The most sustainable way to deal with pet waste, albeit not the most convenient for a pet parent, is to pick it up with newspaper.
Another option is to repurpose other bags you already have around the house. If you must use new bags, opt for those made of bioplastic. Bioplastic bags are renewable, and are made from the sugars of plants like corn, wheat and potatoes.
Using Clay Cat Litter
Most of the cat litter sold today, she says, is clay-based. Clay litter may be more absorbent, but it also clogs landfills. Additionally, most clay used for cat litter is a result of strip mining, a practice that causes environmental damage. Trees and vegetation get cleared, soil excavated and explosives are used to break up rocks.
An alternative option is to choose eco-friendly cat litter made of wheat, corn, or wood. If you do decide to make this change, be sure to do it gradually as cats can be pretty fussy about their litter box and the last thing you want—even if it’s an effort to be eco-friendly—is to have a cat that doesn’t use their litter box.
Not Picking Up After Their Dogs
Your pet's poop may be natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for the planet (or nice to look at, for that matter). Flies will lay eggs in it, other dogs will come along and eat it and if there’s a lot of rain, the poop could run off into the street and into our sewer system, eventually finding its way into streams, rivers and lakes.
Cold or rainy weather doesn’t get you out of pooper scooper duty, either! Be considerate and responsible!
Not Getting Pets Spayed or Neutered
There are a lot of good reasons to get your pet spayed or neutered—from potentially prolonging their life to preventing pet overpopulation. It also reduces strain on the planet in a big way.
The more pets there are on the planet, the more energy and resources that need to be used to make food, cat litter and other supplies.
Not to mention it could result in lots of poor cats and dogs without a fur-ever home!
Not Protecting Pets From Fleas and Ticks
Flea and tick protection probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when looking for ways to save the planet. From a perspective of health, we know fleas and ticks can be detrimental to animal and human health. Not providing this treatment puts both your animal and yourself at risk.
But also consider this: If your house does come under attack from fleas or ticks, the chemicals and insecticides needed to get rid of the parasites can be detrimental to the environment, making early flea and tick prevention beneficial to you, your pet and the planet.
Buying Too Much Pet Stuff
We can love our animals and provide them with optimal care without buying more stuff than they need.
Instead, we can reuse items! Shopping at thrift stores can help as well as utilising "hand-me-downs" much like you would with human children! Also, make sure to add a reusable thermos to your shopping list to avoid having to use plastic water bottles when you're out on walkie duty!
Wasting Food and Water
It’s not just human food that goes to waste. The problem is putting out food for your cat and dog that may not get eaten. It then stands out for hours and loses its palatability, so your pet won’t eat it. To reduce waste, discuss portion size with your vet. You may be overfeeding without even realising it.
Drinking water is another resource we waste. Instead of having to dump out the water and replace with fresh, some experts have recommended investing in a pet drinking fountain that recycles water through a filter so that the water is moving instead of just sitting and so doesn't go stagnant and need replaced!
Not Reading Labels
You can reduce your pet’s carbon paw print by being a savvy consumer. Looking for pet products—such as toys and bedding—made from recycled materials can be helpful! Some brands even use 100 percent plastic soda bottles as bed filling. Making sure your pet food packaging is recyclable or compostable, much like our very own Norsh will also help improve your pet's carbon paw print!